The Commercial Dairy Ranchers Association of Nigeria (CODARAN) has reiterated the need for the implementation of a national dairy policy to upscale local production and increase revenue generation.
Dianabasi Akpainyang, the executive director of CODARAN, speaking to journalists in Abuja, on Friday, said the rate of importation of dairy products into Nigeria was not only alarming, but also worrisome.
Citing the Central Bank of Nigeria, Akpainyang, said as of 2020, Nigeria spent $1.5 billion importing milk into the country.
“If our dairy sector has been well developed, that huge amount would have been made by indigenous practitioners,” he said.
According to him, the local dairy production only meets 40 percent of Nigeria’s demands while 60 percent of local consumption is met by importation hence the call to scale up local production.
Akpainyang revealed that a draft of the National Dairy Policy document has been proposed to help Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in dairy production and fizzle out importation.
He said the policy document which is still at the drafting stage and awaiting validation by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in October will deal with all aspects of Nigeria’s dairy industry; from production, animal breeding, importation of equipment, trade aspect, tariff, duties, financing options on the side of government and the private sector.
“With this policy, we will have less importation. The goal of the policy is to catalyse production and activities in the local sector. We believe if that happens the local dairy sector will improve in terms of capability and we will have less importation.” he explained.
He further explained that currently 95 percent of local production in the dairy industry is handled by smallholder farmers while the other five percent is handled by commercial producers who are mainly indigenous. He said 90 percent of the processing is dominated by multinational companies.
He also noted that Nigeria needs massive investment in production and mainstream sectors of the dairy industry to attain sufficiency.
“Even the multinationals are depending on imported milk because they are unable to get enough milk from the local sector. The policy will help address the issue of infrastructure, logistics, storage and equipment which serve as major hindrances to increased local dairy production.”
According to him, one of the provisions of the policy is that a dairy development fund will be created in Nigeria so that a 50 percent tariff received from importation of dairy products is channelled into the funds for the development of the dairy industry.
“The policy talks about setting up a dairy board that would help manage the fund to develop the midstream sector of the dairy industry so that more Nigerians can have access to milk and process as well”, he concluded.
CODARAN is the apex association of Nigerian dairy value chain operators, covering commercial dairy producers and processors, ranch operators, and small, medium and large-scale dairy farmers.